The Mazda to-do list is long and doesn’t include a rotary sports car.
Automotive News (AN) recently interviewed Mazda CEO Masamichi Kogai. The interview covered a variety of topics, but the one we’re most interested in highlighting is, of course, a possible successor to the RX-8. In case you haven’t been paying attention, talk of such a car was reignited after the RX-Vision concept debuted at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show last year. Since then every outlet in the world (including us) has been trying to figure out if Mazda indeed planned to relaunch a rotary-powered sports car. According to Kogai, it ain’t happening.
AN first asked Mazda’s CEO which would happen first: a rotary range-extender or a new rotary engine. Citing the need to cut down on emissions, Kogai crushed the hopes of gearhead’s everywhere by answering, “The range extender would be the first.” He was then asked if an RX-8 successor with a rotary range-extender could ever be built. The answer to this question involved the tried and true company line about how great the MX-5 is as a driver’s car (it really is great). When asked if there were plans for a larger sports car on the table the reply from Masamichi Kogai was a flat “no.” Now this could just be gamesmanship to try and keep the automotive media and the public on their toes. It could be that, but it doesn’t seem so to us.
The last thing we heard about a new rotary sports car from Mazda involved the CX-5, with the former needing the latter to find sales success in order for a business case (for a new RX model) to be built. Since the new CX-5 isn’t even on sale yet we believe Kogai when he says that there are no plans for a new rotary sports car. But ask him that question in a year. Actually, make that two years. The to-do list is long. First up is to launch the new CX-5 and its diesel variant in the US. After that the focus will shift towards a new generation of SkyActiv engines. At the same time the automaker will roll out an EV, possibly with a gasoline range-extender. All this work will take until 2019 to complete and won’t leave much time for a passion project like a new RX model.